In the latest letter from penpal and CEO Tom Horton, American Airlines employees were told today that the airline is “seeing significant improvement” in operations, and new routes announced are a stepping stone to “sustained, profitable growth.”

“… I am pleased that we’re seeing significant improvement in our operations from the challenges we faced over the past few weeks, and I am very grateful for your commitment to our customers during a difficult stretch,” Horton wrote.

The “difficult stretch” was a reference to a period when pilots, angered over the then-lack of contract talks, apparently increased maintenenance write-ups, leading to a spate of delays and flight cancellations.

Dear American Team, from Tom

Horton wrote his latest missive to employees on the day the airline took steps to get more international, announcing “new service from Dallas/Fort Worth to Seoul, South Korea and Lima, Peru; from Chicago to Dusseldorf, Germany; and from New York JFK to Dublin, Ireland, along with expanded domestic reach from our DFW and Chicago hubs.”

“We strengthened our network around markets with large numbers of the most discerning customers who are critical to our success, and fortified our alliances with the best international partners,” Horton wrote.

Horton informed employees that the diversification of American’s route network will lead to “even more international flying,” greater career opportunities, and new hirings, including new positions for 1,500 flight attendants.

The CEO is doing his best to rally the troops behind the restructuring effort.

The full text of the letter follows:

A Message from Chairman and CEO Tom Horton
Dear American Team:

The new American is getting closer every day. Today, we announced an important step on our path to sustained, profitable growth. We plan to offer new service from Dallas/Fort Worth to Seoul, South Korea and Lima, Peru; from Chicago to Dusseldorf, Germany; and from New York JFK to Dublin, Ireland, along with expanded domestic reach from our DFW and Chicago hubs. These routes are further evidence of progress and momentum. More than that, these are signs of more good things to come for our customers and opportunities for our people as we put American back on top.

Today’s announcement builds on the foundation for success we put in place before beginning our restructuring eleven months ago. We strengthened our network around markets with large numbers of the most discerning customers who are critical to our success, and fortified our alliances with the best international partners. We are rapidly building the youngest and most efficient fleet in the industry, with 550 new aircraft on their way. We’re also investing again in our products, services and technology to create a world-class travel experience.

Thanks to all of your efforts, this strategy is paying off. As our third quarter results showed, we have outperformed all of our major domestic competitors in year-over-year revenue growth for six straight months. Once the full cost savings of our restructuring begin to flow through, American will be strong and profitable, competitive with any airline in the world.

The new service we announced today will further strengthen our network. We will connect our largest hub, DFW, to Seoul, a top global premium market. This service, which will be part of our transpacific joint business with Japan Airlines, will allow customers traveling from South Korea to access more than 200 destinations in the U.S. and Latin America.

Dusseldorf, a hub served by our partner, airberlin, will give our customers access to many additional international markets and feed customers to our network. JFK-Dublin also holds much promise. Both European routes will be part of our transatlantic joint business with British Airways and Iberia.

And, building on our oneworld partnership with LAN and our strong position in Latin America, where we are the largest U.S. carrier, Lima offers us a rapidly growing destination though which customers can access 30 destinations to Central America, Mexico and South America.

As we further diversify our network, the new American will be doing even more international flying, providing greater opportunities for career advancement and increased income for our people. As part of our plans, we expect to hire at least 1,500 new flight attendants over the next year and create approximately 2,500 new and recalled pilot jobs over five years, which we think will lead to about 1,300 Captain upgrades.

Above all, the new American will always put customers first. With that in mind, I am pleased that we’re seeing significant improvement in our operations from the challenges we faced over the past few weeks, and I am very grateful for your commitment to our customers during a difficult stretch.

Thanks for all that you do!

Sincerely,

Tom